Did you eat a doughnut yesterday? Did you get your fill of pancakes last night? Some of you may have been able to answer those questions. Others of you may be wondering if I am off my rocker. You see, the eating of a doughnut or a celebration with pancakes are both time honored traditions marking the day before Lent. In other words, the day before today.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day in a forty day journey we refer to as Lent.
Our denominational website posted this brief explanation about Lent:
“Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means "spring." The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan.
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others. Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter" and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.”
This is a very important time in the life of a church and in the growth of a believer. I encourage you to take this time seriously. I invite you to ponder what it is that God means to you. Examine where you are in your relationship with God and see what you can do to strengthen it. Look for ways where you can make yourself more attentive to the promptings and leadings of the Holy Spirit.
Some of this can be accomplished by dedicated prayer time. Maybe this year you can try fasting with prayer. Be creative in your methods, be purposeful in your pursuit, and you will be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Lent is an important time for all believers. I pray that this Lent speaks to you in new ways, deeper ways, and that you feel the presence of our Triune God like never before.
Have a great week and see you Sunday!